Simon Gerrans became the second consecutive Australian winner of the Milan-San Remo classic, edging the Swiss four-time time-trial world champion Fabian Cancellara and the Italian Vincenzo Nibali in a three-man sprint finish. Britain's world champion Mark Cavendish, the 2009 winner, dropped out of contention on the relatively gentle Le Manie climb with some 60 miles to go in the 186-mile race on Saturday.
The 31-year-old GreenEdge rider from Melbourne, who won this year's Tour Down Under and is his country's national road champion, told his hometown paper The Age: "This is definitely the biggest win of my career ... [the Milan-San Remo] is one of the monuments. But to win one, and to win it racing for an Australian team and in the Australian champion's jersey is perfect." Last year, his team-mate Matthew Goss became the first Australian winner.
The first three home were all given a time of 6hr 59min 24sec. Nibali, winner of the recent Tirreno-Adriatico race, attacked on the steepest portion of the final climb, the Poggio, with Gerrans and Cancellara then joining to form a three-man trio in the lead for the final five miles. Cancellara took it up and though he repeatedly signalled to the others to take a turn in front, Gerrans and Nibali stayed on his wheel. Gerrans burst through in the final 100 yards.
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